Mallard family

(Betsy Bloom/Daily News photos)
(Betsy Bloom/Daily News photo)

A mallard hen shepherds her 10 ducklings on Six Mile Lake in Dickinson County. Unless she lost an earlier nest to predators, this likely is a second brood for the summer. Mallards can have up to 13 eggs in a clutch, so having 10 hatch is impressive but not unknown. It helps that the ducklings are ready to leave the nest within 13 to 16 hours after hatching, according to Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s All About Birds website, www.allaboutbirds.org. While other birds whose young take more time to develop, such as sandhill cranes and raptors, will only produce one set of offspring in a season, some songbirds may have three batches if conditions allow. Mourning doves in warmer regions may even crank out six broods. But odds are most of these young birds will not survive their first year.

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